The Black Dahlia opened the Venice Film Festival yesterday, with James Ellroy and the stars in attendance. (Variety covers and reviews: "...literally ripping good yarn is undercut by some lackluster performances and late-inning overripe melodrama.") Back home, the Times seems real pleased with its movie tie-in to Brian De Palma's latest bloodfest. The following memo was sent yesterday to all hands, crowing about use of Times archives in the promotion and disclosing that the film will get "home page exclusivity" in ads on the paper's website when it is released next month. Memo follows:
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2006 5:59 PM
To: All LATimes Employees
Subject: The Times' Innovative Pre-Awareness Promotional Campaign for "The Black Dahlia"
"The Black Dahlia" microsite is now live at latimes.com
The Times' groundbreaking promotional campaign for the Universal Picture thriller, "The Black Dahlia" is the first using stories from the Los Angeles Times' extensive "Black Dahlia" archives
To help promote the September 15 release of "The Black Dahlia," the Los Angeles Times and Universal Pictures launched the first integrated print, online and out-of-home campaign using actual news stories - pulled from the Los Angeles Times archives - about the notorious and still unsolved "Black Dahlia" murder that stunned Los Angeles in 1947.
The Los Angeles Times, which maintains the most extensive archive of stories about the case, re-opened its Black Dahlia archive almost 60 years after the murder of aspiring actress Betty Ann Short, A.K.A, The Black Dahlia.
The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Newsday wrapped their respective Sunday, August 27 movie sections with a special four-page advertising insert promoting "The Black Dahlia" microsite, at www.latimes.com/theblackdahlia, which includes original Los Angeles Times stories about the case.
"This is one of the most exciting pre-awareness promotions the Los Angeles Times has ever put together for a studio release," said Lynne Segall, Los Angeles Times vice president, entertainment advertising, "The credibility of The Times' extensive historical coverage, coupled with the ongoing fascination of this unsolved case, will help raise awareness of and interest in this film among moviegoers."
The microsite is a major component of the innovative month-long campaign and features:
* more than 50 Los Angeles Times articles originally published in 1947 and pulled from the newspaper's extensive Black Dahlia archives. The collection also includes a 1951 retrospective about the murder.
* the film's theatrical trailer, produced by Universal Studios, along with film stills.
* author James Ellroy narrating "A Look Back," a history of the case, and discussing the upcoming film adaptation of his book, "The Black Dahlia."
* a "Black Dahlia" downloadable map that guides visitors to the locations that played key roles in the murder investigation, from the original crime scene near Hollywood to City Hall to the Formosa Cafe.
A robust latimes.com advertising campaign targets high-traffic areas of the website, including entertainment news, calendarlive.com and main news, and will provide the film with home page exclusivity the week of its release.
To support the online component, teaser ads will run in all print sections of the Los Angeles Times through Sept. 14. And, in the newspaper's five-county distribution area, 23,000 customized news rack cards and headers will support the promotional campaign at the single-copy point of sale.